Quilting extends beyond the notion as just folk art. For many, it’s a passion that expresses their creativity and embodies special memories and messages. Quilting is a $3.58 billion industry in the United States with 21.3 million quilters nationwide. Fourteen percent of U.S. households are home to at least one active quilter. But quilting is also popular worldwide, and Quilt Market attendees come from countries all over the world. If you chat with a quilter, don’t be surprised if you hear mantras like “quilt until you wilt,” “any time is stitchin’ time” or “quilting is a scrap of happiness.”
The newest exhibition at the William D. Cannon Art Gallery celebrates this art form and highlights the creativity of this industry with Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints. This national touring exhibition focuses on the art of quilt-making by presenting 17 works by seven fiber artists representing the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The William D. Cannon Art Gallery is the only California venue to host this nationally traveling exhibition.
Curated by internationally renowned artist and teacher Nancy Crow, Material Pulses contributes to the dialogue of contemporary textile arts. For Crow, the pull of quilting lies in its large, forceful presence and the freedom to use color joyously. Making a quilt is a physical activity, involving piecing fabric parts on working spaces that can span entire walls.
Material Pulses features quilts, mixed-media and installation work. Quilts of up to 100 inches high are featured, for dramatic scale of an art form that is often referred to its functional qualities. The exhibition artists investigate color, pattern, and size through traditional and experimental quilt-making applications. The curator balances a focus on shapes with oversized works, exploring excellence in machine quilting and surface design. The exhibition’s artists bring their techniques and vision to realizing this celebration of contemporary textile arts.
Curator Nancy Crow has taught quilt-making as an art form in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United states. She is the cofounder of Quilt Surface Design and Quilt National.
Experienced quilters and those quilting-curious are encouraged to participate in the upcoming live Virtual Family Open Studios to create an abstract work of art inspired by quilt artist Barb Wills, on Saturday, May 8 at 11 a.m. This free event showcases the art of Wills, an Arizona artist whose work is being displayed in Material Pulses. Registration is now open and includes a free art kit. Register at carlsbadconnect.org (It’s the Library & Cultural Arts tab in pink).
With the opening of Material Pulses, the Cannon Art Gallery is launching a queue management software called QLess. Gallery guests may now save their place in line through the app, eliminating wait times and allowing for social distancing. Guests are encouraged to visit the city website for a reservation and Gallery hours. Onsite staff will register walk-in guests based on availability. The exhibition runs through May 23. Material Pulses is organized by Mid-America Arts Alliance and ExhibitsUSA.